Now I have been in the last week before the Lord, seeking His face as to what to bring before you. I have, I believe, a Jubilee message from my heart and, I hope and trust, from the Spirit of God to bring before you today. Let's bow in a word of prayer just before we hear God's word, and let's ask Him that He will indeed remould us and make us, He will fire us and inspire us, and that we will be receptive to the word of God as we pray today.
Our Father, we would pray as we have been singing: 'Lord, for ourselves, in living power remake us, self on the cross and Christ upon the Throne. Past put behind us, for the future take us, Lord of our lives, to live for Christ alone'. We pray that we may hear Thy voice, and that we will be receptive now to Thy truth, for Christ's sake and in whose name we pray - the King of kings and the Lord of lords - Amen.
I've entitled this message 'A Jubilee Message on the Anniversary of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II'. I want to begin by making a statement that has been made right throughout Christendom, I'm not even sure who made it it's been quoted so many times, and I have indeed quoted it from this pulpit. It is filled with so much truth, spiritual truth and practical truth, and it simply goes like this: 'As the church, so goes the world' - as the church, so goes the world. The thinking behind that statement is, as we have been learning in recent weeks in the Sermon on the Mount, that the people of God and the disciples of Jesus Christ and the church of the living God is to be salt in this generation. It is to be like a light set upon a hill, lighting up the darkness of this world and indeed this nation. There is a sense - the offshoot and the reasonable implication of those words of our Lord Jesus concerning salt and light is that if the meat of the nation is rotten, if the light of the nation has become darkness, the church of the living God and the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ are not serving their purpose, and they are not doing their job.
As the church, so goes the world. When the church is on fire, inevitably there will be a purging influence on society. This can be seen in our history, and we'll take a little bit of time tonight in more detail to look at our history and how God has blessed us down through the years. But just to mention a few, you can see it right after the period of the glorious Reformation in our land, when God's laws and God's principles were enshrined once again in society. You can see it throughout the Puritan era, where the word of God was heralded. You can see it through the age of the Great Awakening, when England was in danger of following France in a godless revolution - yet through the preaching of John Wesley and George Whitfield and others, the tidal wave of godlessness was stayed, and a large percentage of our society was converted by the grace of God through these men's preaching.
We can even see it in our land of Ulster today, we still have with us some of the remnants of the 1859 revival. What is called 'Bible Belt' in our land - the area of County Antrim, and Ballymena area - still has a strong Christian contingent and influence to this day. But ironically that part of this nation that has always been called the 'Bible Belt' tragically has become the drugs capital of Northern Ireland. I think that in itself may indicate to us today the spiritual temperature of the church in Ulster, and indeed the prevailing situation sinfully in our nation can be put, fair and square I believe, at the door of the church of Jesus Christ. As the church, so goes the world.
Now some would naturally object and say: 'Well, David, in lands that there is Christian persecution you couldn't say this 'As the church, so goes the world' - the church seems to be ablaze, and yet the establishment is anti-God and anti-Christ and is putting them to death'. Well, of course, that is the case - but you will find if you analyse those lands that the church, subversively, is having an influence, a purging and a converting influence on grassroots in those societies. Take China for instance, filled with communism - that regime that denies God and is anti-Christ - yet we are told that conversions, at this moment in time, are mushrooming because of the influence of a church that is persecuted yet is on fire for God. It is still true in those lands that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. Today, however, in our land Christian influence is at its lowest ebb. In British society in general - if indeed it can be traced at all - any spiritual, Christian, evangelical influence is dead.
A case in point in this Jubilee weekend is the demise of the Protestant monarchy. We're commemorating today, and indeed all this weekend, that 50 years ago on the 2nd of June 1953 there was the Coronation ceremony of Queen Elizabeth II. But many do not realise and know that at that Coronation ceremony the Bible, the word of God as you have it in your hands today, was brought out; the bishops of England brought out the word of God and placed it upon the altar of the Abbey Church of St Peter in Westminster. After a while in the long proceedings of Coronation, and worship and praise of God, and prayers for the coming sovereign, after a while Her Majesty was asked by the Archbishop himself these words, listen: 'Will you to your power cause law and justice in mercy to be executed in all thy judgments?'. She responded: 'I will'. The Archbishop asked again: 'Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel? Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law?'. And the Queen categorically responded: 'All this I promise to do'.
We, in our modern era, have witnessed the demise of that same Protestant Biblical monarchy; for in the year of 2000 many of you sat after your Christmas dinner at three o'clock and watched the Christmas broadcast. The Queen herself began to delve beyond the frivolity of the millennium that we were celebrating at that time, and in her words she said she wanted to 'get to the bottom of what lies behind all the celebrations of these past twelve months'. As I listened to that, as you I'm sure, there was a hope that came up in my breast - we began to anticipate that she would bring to us a Christ-centred address, and indeed it did come. She spoke beautifully about the birth, the life, the death, and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. She went on to talk about how, at this millennium, we ought to be thinking about the love of God, the love that we should have for God, and love of God that we should have for our neighbour. And then she talked about how even the atheists in British society must have some kind of spiritual sense and recognition that there is a deeper meaning and a further purpose to their lives. But then came these awful words, I quote: 'This spirituality can be seen in the teachings of other great faiths. Of course religion can be divisive, but the Bible, the Koran, and the sacred texts of the Jews and Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs, are all sources of divine inspiration and practical guidance passed down through the generations'.
If, as she said in the same speech, 'the teachings of Christ and my own accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life', she needs to know that there is a day coming when she will answer for those words. She will need to realise today that, whoever is guiding her, she has been misguided and misled. All of these words and the sentiments behind them will incur the judgemental wrath of God upon our nation and upon her monarchy. Imagine comparing Christ's spirituality to the demons of false religion and heathenism!
Then last year in the Christmas broadcast 2001, she began to speak about the tragedies of the year - the floods, the storms, the foot and mouth epidemic, and especially she addressed concerning September the 11th. She remarked how many of us have sought help in the church and in religion at this particular difficult time in the year. But then she said: 'All the major faiths tell us to give support and hope to others in distress' - they may well do. Then later, speaking of the diversity of religion in her society, she said: 'We all have something to learn from one another, whatever our faith: be it Christian, or Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, or Sikh'. 'There is something lacking in the revelation of the Bible, something lacking in the person of Christ who reveals God, that we need to go to Mohammed, we need to go to Buddha, we need to go to other religions to get a fuller revelation - there's something to learn, these religions have something to teach Christ'. I wonder is she paving the way for Charles to become the 'Defender of 'Faith''? I know that there are many bishops writing her speeches, and advising her as the head of the Church of England what to say - but, my friends, as we come to celebrate her Jubilee, we need to realise the seismic shift that has taken place in the monarchy of our land.
No later than the 17th October 2000, Her Majesty visited the Pope. She had visited him before in 1980, and he returned the visit by a visit in Buckingham Palace in 1982. Her most recent address in that visit in the year 2000 went like this, she addressed him: 'Your Holiness, it gives me great pleasure on behalf of Prince Philip and myself to deliver this message to you of friendship and goodwill'. I ask what fellowship hath light with darkness, what fellowship hath Belial with Jehovah? She went on: 'Our visit today is of particular significance because it takes place in this year of great Jubilee' - that was the Pope's Jubilee - 'One of the themes that you have set for this Jubilee year is the reconciliation between different cultures and faith communities. In a Christian context I am pleased to note the important progress that has been made in overcoming historic differences between Anglicans and Roman Catholics' - the historical difference I cite as being the Reformation of the church. She finished: 'I trust that we shall continue to advance along the path which leads to Christian unity'.
It breaks my heart to hear this morning on the radio that it seems that she has adopted the Pope's Jubilee theme as her own, for as we speak in that church in Windsor she is overseeing and witnessing all of her bishops signing a covenant to dedicate themselves to 'Christian unification' in our land. Of course, on the 13th January 2002, the Queen made history when she invited the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales to preach at Sandringham Church. He - believe it or not - was the first Roman Catholic Cardinal to be invited to preach by a monarch since the glorious Revolution of 1688, when the Roman Catholic James II fled the Throne and was succeeded by William of Orange and Mary. That is the first time since then that this has happened.
Where does all this leave the Coronation oaths that she so solemnly swore before God and her nation that she would do? Where does it leave our nation, and where are we heading? I believe, as I pointed out to you last Sunday night, that we as a nation are already under the judgemental wrath of God - and I believe today, in the light of this weekend, that we are heading for even more! Let me declare to you categorically this morning that I love the Queen. I pray for the Queen on a regular basis, I honour the Queen as a citizen of this land, and in many respects I believe that this Queen has been a good Queen for us and for our nation. But I say that she will have to answer for the compromise of the truth, but I also say to all of us today, listen: as the church goes, so goes the world. She is not entirely to blame.
Turn with me for a moment to 1 Samuel chapter 10, 1 Samuel chapter 10. We read here in 1 Samuel of the establishment of the Israelite monarchy and the first King, King Saul. We find here the anointing of Saul, by Samuel, as the King of the land. You remember, I hope you remember, that they asked God for a king, and it was not in God's perfect plan, in one sense, to give them a King - they were asking for a king because the other nations had a king, and they wanted to be like other nations. But God of course knew, in His foreknowledge, that this would happen - and we know that from some of the laws that were stipulated in the Pentateuch, before there was ever a king He stipulated what the laws for a king ought to be. But we find here in chapter 10 and in verse 19: 'Ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes, and by your thousands'.
They rejected God, verse 24: 'And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king. Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the LORD. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house. And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts the LORD had touched'. Saul, the first king in Israel, had a band of men around him whose heart of the Lord has touched. He had the prophet Samuel, he had other men of God, he had the book of the kingdom that we read about in verse 25. He laid down God's revelation and stipulation of the laws according to a king. We find the king after him, King David, had Nathan the prophet to keep him on the straight and narrow, the holy road.
We are caused to ask today, in the light of the demise of our monarchy: who has Her Majesty the Queen got to advise her? Is it all her fault? Who has she? I believe, among them, is a bunch of unregenerate, godless drunkards - some of whom are homosexuals and idolaters. There's hardly a blood-washed man among them! They are advising our Queen to deny the Bible, and I say this in respect to her: she has become a puppet to a government that is hell-bent on dismantling any semblance of the Bible and godliness in our society! Now here is the issue for us today: as the church, so goes the world. The issue for us is: if she has failed in her duties, if those around her and her advisers have failed in their duties, ought we to fail in our duty too?
Turn with me to 1 Timothy chapter 2, 1 Timothy chapter 2 and verse 1: 'I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time'. Now here's my question to you: we have a duty to pray for our Queen, to pray for the royal family, to pray for our government and our assembly here in Northern Ireland, and we have a duty to pray privately and publicly for them: 'God save the Queen'. The question is: do we?
I tell you, our nation is going to hell - and I believe the church in our nation is making daisy-chains as it burns. We are in an awful situation today, and the demise of our nation I believe can be traced fairly and squarely to the lukewarmness of the church of Jesus Christ. It's great if you can sit in a prophetic armchair, like a couch potato, and just write 'signs of the times' above everything that is happening in our land. All I can say is thank God for men like Luther, for men like Calvin and Knox, and Wesley and Whitfield and Booth; men of God here in Ulster like Nicholson and Brownlow North - they didn't resign themselves to the desperate situation. They didn't say: 'Well, as long as I'm going to heaven and the Lord's coming soon - to hell with the rest of them!'. Do you know that our people are on their way to hell? Every time I see the television, and I see the hordes of people going down the street shopping, I think to myself: 'Surely not! Surely not all of them are going to hell?' - but the word of God and the revelation of God's truth tells us they are! We need to waken up to the fact, and we need to realise the lukewarm Laodicean attitude within the church at large today - the bankruptness, the blindness to spiritual truth - yet we sit and boast about who we are and what we have, we've got to waken out of it! We're naked and we don't know it! We're rich - the church and society has never been more affluent, never been more materialistic, we've never had as much equipment, we've never had as much money - yet we're poor, we've never had less power! We have need of nothing, and yet we lack almost everything that the early Church and the apostles had in the beginning.
The question is: can Christ be in the midst of such a Laodicean, prodigal church in a prodigal nation? I'll tell you what our nation needs: it doesn't need a better monarch than Prince Charles that's going to come soon, it doesn't need that. It doesn't need a Conservative government, or a Christian government: it needs the fire of Almighty God to come into the church of God! That's what it needs! But the church today seems to be more interested in having air-conditioning than prayer-conditioning. It seems to be more interested in organising than in agonising. My friend, if I can give you any advice for the future of our nation, the future of our land and our people and the church of Jesus Christ, it is this: go to prayer! Not to Allah, not to Buddha, not to Mary, but to Jehovah! We need the fire of God.
Did you know that the late King George VI, our Queen's father who died on the 6th February 1952, was the last of our monarchs ever to call a national day of prayer? I believe he may well have been a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. In that particular time in our history the nation was in desperation, our backs were to the walls, the Germans were coming across Europe and about to cross the Channel - and he invited us to get on our knees and to pray, and I believe God heard our prayers and God sent deliverance from on high! Previous Kings and Queens had done the same as he, and sought divine help because they interpreted what was going on in the land and in the nation as events of their day being - whether it was plague, harvest, disease - driven by the Almighty hand of God, and tempered in His providence. The providential will of God was allowing these things into our land to bring us to our knees.
We celebrate today 50 years of Her Majesty's reign but let me say, sadly, that in all those 50 years not once - she had plenty of opportunities of doing it - not once on a national level, not during the Suez crisis, or the Cuban wars, or the wars in Korea, or the Falklands wars, or the thalidomide crisis, or foot and mouth epidemic, not even after September the 11th has she asked the nation to pray. She has been described over this weekend as the perfect constitutional monarch, and I don't doubt that in many ways - but God, in all the last 50 years, has never been honoured by this nation and by its royalty with petitions in a day of national prayer!
What is the answer? I'll tell you what the answer is: God is the answer! God, and nothing but His presence, is the answer for the nation and for the church; to turn it from Ichabod - the glory that has departed - to the Shekinah! How will that happen? Turn with me to Ezra chapter 8, and if you know the context of the book of Ezra you will know that the Israelites have come out of captivity in Babylon for 70 years, and there has been so many ungodly, idolatrous, sinful kings that have disregarded the law and truth of God that the Bible had been buried - literally buried in the temple. This man Ezra took it upon himself to dig out the Bible again, and they spent a whole day reading the word of God from cover to cover before the people! God's people couldn't endure that today, never mind ordinary people! Yet Ezra finds the answer, and we find it in chapter 8 and verse 21, he says: 'Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him. So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was entreated of us'.
Ezra had convinced the Levites, we see from the previous chapters, to come and to follow him. But the Levites with him was no good, all the people with him was no good, and he even was ashamed to go to the King and ask help from the King, because he knew that God takes not pleasure in the strength of horses or in the legs of a man - for vain is the help of man, he needed God! Friends today, we need God! We need God to be among us again, and His presence to be with us, and it will not happen unless God's people come and avail themselves of what is there for them! Ezra wasn't going to ask the king for help because he knew that there was a myriad, a treasure, an absolute bottomless pit of resources for the people of God if they came and availed themselves of it by faith. We, today, need the fire of God, we need the presence of God, we need the Elijahs of God to implore God, we need men like Moses who made representation to the King of kings in his intercession. You remember how he stood on that Mount: 'And it came to pass', it says, 'when Moses held up his hands, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hands, Amalek prevailed'. But there he was, interceding for the nation in pain, in travail, in sweat and in torment - but he did it! We need men and women whose voice will be heard in heaven.
I read often, right through the Pentateuch, many times, that Moses did according to the word of the Lord. You read that over and over again: Moses did according to the word of the Lord. Do you know what I read this week in my daily readings? Exodus 8 verse 31: 'And the LORD did according to the word of Moses; and he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; there remained not one'. The LORD did according to the word of Moses! Do you remember Jacob, as he wrestled during the night with that angelic figure, and he pronounced to him: 'Jacob, thy name shall be no more Jacob, but Israel' - why? 'For as a prince, thou hast power with God and with men, and hast prevailed'.
Do you know what we need today? We need Christians like the holy prophets of old, and like the Apostles and the first Christians who had an insatiable passion for God and for His word, and had a sacrificial compassion for this people in our nation who are in their sin and who are on their way to hell! We are not the covenant people of God, we are not Israel today, we are not the lost tribes, but what we are is a people and a nation who been abundantly blessed by God. What we, as the church of Jesus Christ, are in the United Kingdom is God's holy nation, God's holy people. In this nation, and on this island, we used to have an influence, we used to have an impact that couldn't be ignored - and oh, it is my prayer, and I hope it's yours, that we would return to those days of former glory!
Ten years ago Her Majesty celebrated her 40th anniversary of her reign, and it was a year that she called in her Queen's speech: 'Annus horribilis' - a horrible year. I don't know whether you know this, but 40 years in the Bible is the time of testing and the time of trial. There's no doubt in the nation, and in her family, she received that year a time of severe testing and a time of trial. In the Bible, we'll look at it tonight, the Jubilee trumpet sounded in ancient Israel on the day of atonement. Ten days earlier, before that, there was the Feast of Trumpets - and for a different reason the sound was heard, and it was the trumpet of repentance. Ten days before the day of atonement, deliverance, there was a trumpet to call the people to repent on the fortieth day. I wonder, in all Her Majesty's 'annus horribilis', was God calling to her, God calling to her family, and God calling to her nation to repent?
One thing is certain, God is calling to a Laodicean church today, and He says: 'Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man, woman, child hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me'. Now let no-one think this morning that I am sounding a discordant note on a joyful occasion within our land. We want to give thanks today for Her Majesty the Queen, and for her long reign, and we pray fervently that she will be long to reign over us - but our thanks to God today must be tempered with realism before God! We've got to recognise the reality of Britain in sin as we speak! We've got to realise that the only hope for our nation which exists is Jesus Christ, the King of kings and the Lord of lords!
What directives is the church giving over this Jubilee weekend? I read a Church of England parish magazine this week, and it quotes Leviticus chapter 23 like this, I'll read it: 'The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants'. Now here's the advice that they give the people: 'Next time you are enjoying the sunshine in your garden, why not consider whether you would treat it differently if you thought that you were one of God's tenants given responsibility over this bit of earth? Taken together, private gardens in our land make up a larger area than all of our National Trust land - so what we all do in our own little patches can have a huge impact on the survival of our native species'. Now here's the June top tip: 'Mark this Jubilee year by helping to restore a tiny bit of British countryside in your back garden'. 'Cut out the chemicals' - not 'cut out the sin'. 'Try to plant indigenous trees and plants' - not 'bring forth fruit unto repentance'. 'Get rid of the insects and the fungi and the birds' - not the 'little foxes that spoil the vines'. 'Convert a bit of lawn to a flower meadow' - not 'convert your souls, and convert your ways, and repent'. 'Dig a pond' - not 'dig wells of righteousness and salvation'. 'Or even just leave a corner to grow wild' - and that is what the established church is saying to our nation today at this monumental time!
Now, what are we saying? What are we doing? For God says: 'If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land'. Our nation and our church needs God and His presence. The seventh ceremony of the Coronation is called the anointing. The creed has already been said and the Queen kneels down on her faldstool. All the people in the congregation kneel in their places, from the Archbishop begins to say the hymn 'Veni, Creator Spiritus', and the choir sing it out. Do you know what it says? Listen to this:
'Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
And lighten with celestial fire.
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
Who dost thy seven-fold gifts impart.
Thy blessed Unction from above
Is comfort, life, and fire of love.
Enable with perpetual light
The dullness of our blinded sight.
Anoint and cheer our soiled face
With the abundance of thy grace:
Keep far our foes, give peace at home;
Where Thou art guide, no ill can come.
Teach us to know the Father, Son
And Thee, of both, to be but One;
That, through the ages all along,
This may be our endless song:
Praise to Thy eternal merit,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit'.
Do you know what we need today? Do you know what I need? The anointing of the Holy Spirit of God. Let's bow our heads - I believe firmly and more than ever that in this particular spirit of Laodiceanism in the church, that God is calling individuals out to be a people, a faithful people unto Himself who will serve Him in holiness and godliness, and with the anointing of the Holy Ghost upon their life and ministry. Will you be one of those people who will answer the call of Christ as He knocks on your heart's door? I wonder at times who He will bypass, what generations has He already bypassed? Will it take Him to speak to the young people before the church is on fire again for God and the Gospel? Answer it in your heart honestly.
"God save the Queen"
Father, there is none of us can say we have no need of Thee, in fact if we're all honest we have to say that we all need Thee desperately. We need Thee in our land, and we pray for our dear Queen whom we love, that Thou wilt save her, and save her family, and even move in a cleansing fire among them that they may be a godly example unto church and nation. We pray, our Father, for the church of Jesus Christ in the United Kingdom and in this principality - that, our Father, You will do what You did before, do what we know that Thou canst do, and send those Pentecostal showers. We long to see Thy name vindicated once again. We long to see glory brought to Thee, and souls brought to Christ, for we long that the One who is worthy - the King of kings and the Lord of lords - should have the hearts and the lives of men and women. Amen.
Don't Miss: “Your Jubilee Responsibility”
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This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee. It was transcribed from the tape, titled "The Seismic Shift Of The Monarchy" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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